Problems in prayer—and possible solutions

I really need to follow the advice in this post. I hope it’s helpful to someone else as well.


  • Plan to pray. No one drifts effortlessly into disciplined prayer.
  • Repent of disobedience and unmortified sin. We don’t have to be perfect to approach God, just repentant.

Wandering thoughts

Isn’t it strange that at prayer time your memory suddenly comes alive and you recall all things you need to do and haven’t done?

  • Have a notepad or something similar where you can write down all the things you remember you need to do. Attend to the list after you’ve finished praying.
  • Pray aloud if that helps keep your mind concentrated.
  • Pray the Scriptures. As you read a Bible passage, you can turn the truths therein into prayers. Alternatively, you could adopt biblical prayers as models

Spiritual dryness

There are times when God seems so distant and prayer feels like a futile exercise.

  • Expect periods of dryness to happen.
  • Go on faithfully praying, pouring out your condition before God

Unanswered prayer

  • Read Psalm 77: the psalmist starts out dismayed and ends in worship. Why? Because he reminded himself of all the things God had done in the past for His people (Psalm 77:10-12).

Prayer is a routine and a rut

  • Don’t focus on your performance; focus on God and your relationship

Too tired to pray

  • Schedule prayer time for when you’re at your maximum energy level
  • You may need to get more organised and/or get more sleep

Sources: David Jackman’s talk Problems in Prayer and chapter one of Don Carson’s book A Call to Spiritual Reformation.

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